There have been great strides to become more environmentally conscious, as we uncovered in our recent Project Looking Glass II and Next Generation studies.
Based on new product introductions with green claims launched in the last five years alone, the title of “green” as a mainstream product feature appears to be firmly ingrained in both consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers’ offerings as well as in the minds of consumers.
That idea has trickled down into the mind of the mature market consumer as well. Today’s Boomers and seniors are much more environmentally conscious than their predecessors, thanks in part to education and intense messaging on the state, local and national levels, and to the social consciousness common among the Boomers, and starting to appear in the current Transitional Generation.
In the retirement living market, community “Green Teams” and recycling programs are now common. But for the older generations, thinking environmentally is often a learning process, while for the younger set, it has become part of their lifestyle. As we uncovered in our Next Generation research, there was still some amount of skepticism regarding the true impact on the world.
Knowing this mindset, today’s retirement communities are slowly realizing that they cannot simply be “green for green’s sake,” but need to incorporate these initiatives as a means to produce measurable results, as well as shorten the learning curve.
Here’s a great example: Our PLGII subject community, Frasier Meadows, was able to move from a dismal 70% to a 95% energy efficiency by installing compact fluorescent light bulbs, high-efficiency boilers, occupancy sensors and 500 new windows. Residents and management alike saw the health benefits and long-term ROI.
MARKETING INSIGHT: In short, go ahead and be green, as long as it’s done in a practical, fiscally responsible manner and shows real results that benefit everyone.
Some communities have made efforts to overcome the notion that one person can’t make a difference by quantifying the environmental savings based on using their green initiatives, and differentiating their community to the environmentally-conscious.
From a marketing standpoint, a slightly different approach than the current crop of messaging (which centers on the cumulative savings based on “if everyone made these changes”) may need to be considered. Instead, providers may want to show how one single person’s annual – or lifetime – green habits can add up to savings on such things as plastic waste, pollution, and even money.
Sustainability and being “green” should be a collaborative effort. For residents, it should be promoted as paving the way for coming generations. For management, it should demonstrate corporate social responsibility, good stewardship of resources, and become a true point of differentiation.
The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) has some great tips and tools for making your community green without breaking the bank, and proving benefit to all.
The Varsity Team